Stress is a subject that we all hear about all the time; we talk about it, we hear about it in the media, we blame others, events and situations for it, and ever day there seems to be a new ‘cure’ for stress.
Have you ever noticed exactly how the word ‘stress’ makes you feel? Even the word itself denotes anxiety, worry, and tension.
In our modern world everything is moving very fast – almost at light speed. Technology is changing every day, and people have more and more responsibilities and seem to be running from one activity to the other. So many of us are feeling stressed and under pressure for so many reasons, and live constantly in this state of worry, fear, anxiety – there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all we need to accomplish, so it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
When we are under stress, our body goes into the “fight or flight” response which, amongst other things, causes an increase in heart rate and respiration. The fight or flight mode evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties, eventually causing the body to exist in this ‘fight or flight’ mode constantly, without a rest. This eventually takes a toll on our health and can lead to a myriad of illnesses and dis-ease.
What can we do about it?
One strategy to deal with stress is to change your perception of the situation. You cannot get out of a traffic jam or change what your boss said to you, however you can change your response and your inner state of consciousness. Remember we cannot control events, situations or the way people treat us, however we can control how we respond.
Another possible strategy is to change our vocation. Our culture teaches us to get a good job, one that has security and a pension. Many of us our doing things that our parents wanted us to do, or we are doing them because of the financial gain. This often leads to emptiness, and in many cases causes stress without us even realizing it. Do something you love and do not buy into the fear of lack. The universe is abundant and when you find your passion you will be rewarded.
And finally, we can learn better coping mechanisms. Our culture turns to addiction to deal with stress; food, drugs/alcohol and other addictions may feel good at the time, however long-term they have all have adverse side effects.
We are told by the media and Big Corporations that if we purchase more material possessions, get a bigger house, fancier cars, and get involved in too many activities (so we don’t have time to think) the stress will go away and we will be happy.
We work more and work harder to buy things we do not need, with money we do not have, to impress people that we do not even like. This causes even more stress and leaves us with less time to do the thing we really love, and spend time with friends and family.
Learn to look inside; this takes some time and courage however this is where the answer lives. When we quiet our mind, it not only nourishes us but can give us the answer to what really makes us happy, passionate, and what will fulfill us long-term.
Try learning to meditate, to quiet the mind. Perhaps try learning a mind/body vocation like yoga, tai chi or qigong. These activities will help you create an awareness and you will find your way to health and happiness.
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